What is Literacy?

What is Literacy?
Defining literacy in our changing world is not easy. Several years ago, being literate meant being able to read and write a little. Now, being literate means being able to read and write at a level to be successful in today's world and also being proficient at math, knowing how to use technology, and knowing how to solve problems and make decisions.

National Statistics
According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, approximately 44 million people in the United States cannot read well enough to fill out an application, read a food label, or read a simple story to a child. This includes people in corrections facilities, the majority of whom have low literacy skills. In Ohio, 24% of all people over the age of 18 do not have their high school diplomas (Ohio's Future at Work). And according to the estimates by the U.S. Department of Labor, literacy problems cost the U.S. businesses about $225 billion a year in lost productivity. These costs result from employee mistakes, injuries, absenteeism, tardiness, missed opportunities, and other problems associated with low literacy.

Ohio Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE)
As defined by the Ohio Department of Education, the Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) program provides educational opportunities for adults who lack a foundation of literacy skills needed for effective citizenship, further education, and productive employment. ABLE programs are held in public schools, learning centers, community-based centers, homeless shelters, correctional institutions, colleges, work sites, and institutions for the disabled. These programs provide free instruction in basic literacy, workplace literacy, family literacy, and English speakers of other languages instruction, preparation for the General Education Development (GED) test.

Outcomes of Adult Basic and Literacy Education
Adult Basic and Literacy Education fills a need - for an educated, quality workforce and for decreases in joblessness and welfare dependency. Family literacy increases the literacy of parents and their children and helps parents understand that they are their child's first teacher, thus breaking the cycle of low literacy skills in families. Adult Basic and Literacy Education provides a gateway to job advancement and higher education by helping thousands of people each year obtain their GEDs. Adult Basic and Literacy Education helps people more successfully perform their roles as family members, workers, and community members by giving people a chance to improve their literacy skills.

Do You Know the Facts About Literacy


Do You Know the Facts About Literacy? Quiz

Do You Know the Facts About Literacy? Answers

What is Literacy?

Characteristics of Adult Learners

Adult Literacy Estimates

What Can You Do?

Ohio Literacy Resource Center


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